Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Tune of the day even though it's like not even the weekend or anything.

This gorgeousful slice of Detroit electronics came out in 1990 so it's timely that I should write about it as we teeter precariously on the edge of a '90s revival that will no doubt focus on Kid n Play flat top haircuts, raving, flannel shirts and Ace of Base. However, before the omnipresence of irony that serves to revive crap, corporate music and inflate major label CEO's salaries there was a thing called decent music. In the early '90s decent music could be anything from Throwing Muses to Ice Cube to this here record here. I know irony is so irreverent and hilarious, and anyways passionate artistry and earnestness should be clowned incessantly 'cos it says so in the "Staying Hip As You Approach 40" handbook that's de rigeur reading at Vice Magazine headquarters, but for an honest appraisal of its role in youth culture read No Logo by Naomi Klein, she kinda nails the wall, where it belongs.

But, back to the music. Octave One's "I Believe" is a lush, driving and naive slice of Detroit techno and copies of it should be placed in a capsule and shot into space by NASA so that other lifeforms can swoon to its beauty. Supposedly it was crafted on gear bought second hand by the Burden Brothers from fellow Detroiters Was (Not Was) (whose "Wheel Me Out" is essential disco not disco gear and according to Juan Atkins, was the record he learned to mix with). It was released on Derrick May's Transmat label which, at the time was home to Atkins' Model 500 project, and had released serious dance floor numbers like Rhythim Is Rhythim's "Nude Photo," and "It Is What It Is," and R-Tyme's sublime "R-Theme"/"Illusion" EP.

"I Believe" is also sublime, containing the very uplifting original mix, Jay Denham's Inner Cityesque interpretation and Juan's sensational, sensual, sexy and swiftnific mix which features a bassline from the depths of the ocean, layers of dreamy strings and fifteen year old Lisa Newberry's plaintiff vocals. It is the perfect fusion of forward looking dance music, star gazing optimism and hydraulic funk inflected dub. Before any more schminimal techno is written this record should be listened to. It is truly inspiring and sonically stunning, and it will sound great in a mash up with Vanilla Ice. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.


No comments: